Nokia 3.1 Plus preview: Covering all the bases

HMD Global is on a roll. The company unveiled the Nokia 7.1 earlier this month in London, and is now following it up with the Nokia 3.1 Plus. With the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the Nokia 5.1 Plus also making their debut over the last two months, it's clear that HMD is looking to offer a range of options in the budget segment.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus shares the same moniker as the Nokia 3.1, but the two phones are nothing alike. HMD introduced a new design language with the Nokia 6.1 Plus, and we're seeing a continuation of that in the Nokia 3.1 Plus. The phone has a similar design with an oblong camera housing that contains the two rear cameras as well as the flash module, but there are a few key differences.

First up, the Nokia 3.1 Plus has a polycarbonate back instead of glass, and the matte texture makes it great to hold the device. There are plastic inserts at the top and bottom for the antennae, and the chassis is reinforced with an internal die cast metal midframe.

The phone features a 6-inch HD+ display, and unlike the Nokia 6.1 Plus and the 5.1 Plus, there's no notch here. The 18:9 screen has a resolution of 1440 x 720, and while the phone would have benefited from a Full HD panel, doing so would have had an adverse effect on battery life and performance.

Talking about performance, the Nokia 3.1 suffered in this area on account of the MediaTek MT6750, but HMD is making amends by switching to a Helio P22. The P22 is manufactured on a much more energy-efficient 12nm node, and has eight Cortex A53 cores that go up to 2.0GHz. The result is a drastic uptick in performance, and in the three days I used the phone I didn't face a lot of lag or stutter.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SpecsNokia 3.1 Plus
Screen6.0-inch 18:9 HD+ (1440x720) IPS LCD
ChipsetMediaTek Helio P22
Storage16/32GB, MicroSD slot
SoftwareAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Rear Camera 113MP, ƒ/2.0
Rear Camera 25MP, ƒ/2.4
Front Camera8MP, ƒ/2.2
SecurityRear fingerprint
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, BT4.1, FM radio
ColorsBlue, White, Baltic
Dimensions156.6 x 76.4 x 8.1mm

The unit I'm using has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but the base model of the Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with just 2GB/16GB. With even entry-level devices coming with 3GB of RAM, it would've made more sense had HMD offered the 3GB variant as standard.

There are a few features missing from the device, including the ability to connect to 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. VoLTE is thankfully enabled out of the box, and you also get a 3.5mm jack, FM radio, and a dual SIM slot along with a dedicated MicroSD slot.

One of the key highlights on the Nokia 3.1 Plus is the 3500mAh battery, with HMD touting two-day usage from a full charge. That claim definitely holds up in real world usage, and while I haven't used the phone for enough time to deliver an accurate assessment on the battery life, you'll easily get more than a day's worth of use even under heavy load.

As for the software side of things, the Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with an update to Pie in the works. The software experience itself is identical to what you'd find on any HMD device today, and like all Android One devices, the Nokia 3.1 Plus will receive platform updates for two years and three years' worth of security updates.

Nokia 3.1 Plus

The Nokia 3.1 Plus will be available in three color options — Blue, White, and Baltic — and the phone will be going up for sale in India starting October 19 for ₹11,999 ($160).

Unlike the Nokia 6.1 Plus and 5.1 Plus — which are targeted online — the 3.1 Plus will be sold in the offline market. It will be hitting global markets for €159, with availability kicking off later this year.

The Nokia 3.1 Plus joins the rest of HMD's recent launches in offering great value for money, and it's easy to see that the Finnish manufacturer is setting its sights on the likes of Xiaomi and Samsung with its aggressive launch cycle. The only difference here is that HMD's phones come with an uncluttered software experience with the promise of quick updates, unlike a majority of devices in this category.

What are your thoughts on the Nokia 3.1 Plus?

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.